On Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor last night, Temple University professor Marc Lamont Hill argued that when politicians like Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin invoke “Joe Six Pack,” they are using a “code word” that excludes African-Americans. “Why can’t an African-American guy be Joe six pack?” asked O’Reilly.
“What I’m saying is that when people think of Joe Six Pack, when — the immediate image that comes to your mind is not a black man. It is often a white man,” said Lamont. O’Reilly then claimed that when he imagined “Joe Six Pack,” he pictured a person with “no color”:
HILL: What I’m saying is that when people think of Joe six pack, when — the immediate image that comes to your mind is not a black man. It is often a white man.
O’REILLY: The immediate image – no, the immediate image that comes to my mind is a guy of no color with a six pack of Bud. No color.
HILL: You might be the only person in the galaxy who is able to imagine a raceless human being. For most people our images of our people are racialized. And oftentimes the index of the normal average American is a white person.
O’Reilly’s claim that he is racially colorblind is laughable given his own past statements. In fact, in a past interview with Hill, O’Reilly complained that “white Americans are terrified” to compliment African-Americans because it “may be taken as condescension.” O’Reilly sparked controversy last year when he admitted that he “couldn’t get over the fact that there was no difference between” an African-American run restaurant and “any other restaurant in New York City.”
Ironically, Stephen Colbert says that O’Reilly is one of the main inspirations for his character. Colbert’s satirical character defines himself as racially colorblind, often saying, “I don’t see race.”